Opening September 14, 2017
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Writing credits: Rebecca Blunt
Principal actors: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Farrah Mackenzie, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane, Charles Halford
Steven Soderbergh returns after a five-year sabbatical with a fast-paced hillbilly-heist spoof too good to miss. It is all about luck – who has it, who not. Clyde (Driver) is sure Logans are jinxed, except for Jimmy’s (Tatum) counter-arguments. Following a particularly galling confrontation with an obnoxious, stinking-rich drink entrepreneur (MacFarlane), Jimmy serves up a particularly persuasive, sketchy to-do diagram to Clyde. It is tantalizingly enticing to financially struggling Iraq veterans; Mellie (Keough) joins brother Jimmy’s plot. A hairdresser by trade, she frequently referees Jimmy and ex-wife Bobbie Jo’s (Holmes) spats over their precocious tween (Mackenzie); their disproportionate lifestyles adds fuel to the fire.
The plan—robbing the speedway during the long Memorial Day weekend—needs the “Joe Bang” touch to succeed. This instigates visiting prison to somehow convince Joe (Craig), then rounding up the numbskull Bang brothers (Quaid, Gleeson). Parallel action involves: Charlotte Motor Speedway’s deeds; the Warden’s (Dwight Yoakam) plight; various luminaries; Sadie competing in the kiddie’s beauty pageant, et al. A “we got a code pink” call unleashes a sequence of incidents guaranteed to thrill audiences.
Native West Virginian Rebecca Blunt’s first credited screenplay has energy, clever dialogue, and quirky characters with endearing blue-collar heart, individuality, and soul. With a finely tuned all-star ensemble, director-cinematographer-editor Soderbergh (Oceans trilogy) gives this genre a sidesplitting new twist. Collectively they captivate, and the specificities imbue authenticity, quality, and warmth. Music figures prominently: John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads (1971) and David Holmes’ score. Skillful editing keeps pace with contingencies, and the intricate plot’s development and consequences. Are the Logans on a collision course, or has their luck turned? Draw your own conclusion from the cohesive ending segment. Nevertheless, considering the intermingling among these charismatic characters, all bets are off. ( )